Today’s Sunday Telegraph has a YouGov poll suggesting Labor is headed for a comfortable win at the New South Wales state election on March 25, leading the Coalition 56-44 on two-party preferred and 39% to 33% on the primary vote, with the Greens on 11% and others on 17%. The poll also encompasses questions on the Dominic Perrotet Nazi costume scandal (67% say it won’t affect their vote, 20% say it will make them less likely to vote Coalition, and 8% demonstrate the problems with this sort of question by saying it makes them more likely to vote Coalition), cashless gaming cards (61% are in favour with 19% opposed), better party to deal with the cost of living (30% Labor, 25% Liberal, 26% neither) and issue salience (39% cost of living, 17% economy, 14% health, 10% each for housing affordability and environment). The poll was conducted January 14 to 17 from a sample of 1069.
Other recent election-related news:
• Labor-turned-independent MP Tania Mihailuk has joined One Nation and will run as the second candidate on the party’s Legislative Council ticket behind Mark Latham. Mihailuk quit the ALP in October, a month after being dumped from the shadow ministry after she raised allegations in parliament about links with Eddie Obeid, for which no evidence could be found my an independent investigation completed last week. Latham was elected in 2019 and will cut short his eight-year term to run again to improve the party’s chances of electing a second member.
• Canterbury-Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour has withdrawn from his plum position on Labor’s Legislative Council ticket, complaining of a “smear campaign” that included extensive reportage on his council expenses claims in the Daily Telegraph. However, Chris Minns said Asfour had made the right decision as the claims were unacceptable, and promised to reform council allowances if Labor wins the election. Tania Mihailuk’s breach with Labor, noted above, relates to accusations she made against Asfour in parliament over alleged dealings with Eddie Obeid, for which Asfour was cleared by an independent investigation earlier this month.
• Lawyer and factional conservative Katie Mullens is set to succeed the retiring Geoff Lee as Liberal candidate for Parramatta, emerging as the only preselection candidate standing following the withdrawal of Tanya Raffoul, chief-of-staff to David Elliott of the centre right. James O’Doherty of The Daily Telegraph reports that Raffoul’s decision was made “amid concerns any preselection vote would be tainted by members signed up to the Liberal Party with fake emails”, six local party members having been expelled from the party last month for allegedly using false emails to sign up members. Labor’s candidate is local lord mayor Donna Davis, who was chosen at the behest of Chris Minns without a ballot of the local membership.
• Chris Minns will face an independent challenge in his seat of Kogarah from Troy Stolz, a former auditor for ClubsNSW who is being sued by the organisation after he leaked a report disclosing failures by poker machine venues to comply with money laundering and counter-terrorism laws. Stolz has been critical of Minns’ nuanced response to Dominic Perrottet’s push for cashless gaming cards, as recommended by a NSW Crime Commission report into the use of poker machines for money laundering.
• Max Maddison of The Australian reported on January 3 that Liberal Democrats members were in revolt over the disendorsement of the party’s lead Legislative Council candidate, former Liberal Party activist John Ruddick. The decision was carried by a four-to-three vote of the state executive over allegations of bullying and abuse, and will now be referred to a special general meeting before the end of the month.
• Labor’s new candidate for Ryde is Lyndal Howison, a teacher and former communications and marketing manager who ran unsuccessfully for the federal seat of Bennelong in 2016. The party’s original candidate, local doctor Franscisco Valencia, withdrew in December after an apprehended violence order was sought against him over an alleged domestic incident.